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  • Tractor beams could tidy space waste

    With Earth's orbit cluttered with dead satellites, discarded rocket boosters and other space junk, ways to prevent the accumulation of such debris are desperately needed.

    How about using a tractor beam to simply steer future junk aside, says space-flight engineer John Sinko of Nagoya University, Japan.

    Sinko's idea is based on an experimental type of spacecraft engine called a laser thruster. Inside these motors, laser pulses fired into a mass of solid propellant cause a jet of material to be released, pushing the craft in the opposite direction.

    Sinko realised that the laser did not necessarily have to be on the same craft. "These on-board motors could also be targeted remotely by lasers for tractor beaming," he says.

    Read more on New Scientist
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Tpex's Avatar
      Tpex -
      so it can only push? not pull?
    1. XaXasTHoC's Avatar
      XaXasTHoC -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tpex View Post
      so it can only push? not pull?
      lol didnt you bother to read the article?

      "A spacecraft fitted with a laser would fire a low-power beam at a thruster fitted on another craft to attract, repel or steer it in another direction. Pushing a spacecraft away is a relatively simple matter, but more complex designs using mirrors are needed to use a beam to tug one towards the laser"
    1. Tpex's Avatar
      Tpex -
      Oh thanks, seems I missed the part of where the thruster was placed, now Star Wars with the real Tractor beam: The Millennium Falcon gets hit with a thruster which hooks on then only do they pull it in
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